ACC: The Race for Second Place



Clemson remains No. 1 in the country so we can assume that unless they decide to lose a game, they will be the #1 seed in the ACC championship. The question is: Who will they play? There are no divisions this year and Notre Dame is a 1-year member. At this rate, several teams may not get to play all 10 scheduled games by mid-December. There's a lot of unknown to shake out in the ACC this year, but here's the current race for 2nd place.


Who's on Top?


#5 Notre Dame 1-0

Notre Dame came in holding a 14-1 regular-season record vs. ACC the last 3 years. Losing only to No. 7 Miami on the road and No. 2 Clemson in the College Football Playoffs. QB Ian Book has a lot of experience and threw for 263 yards and a score vs. Duke. Notre Dame has only played 1 ACC game and it was Duke so there isn't too much to tell from it, but they are definitely a threat for many ACC teams this year. This is also Notre Dame's first opportunity to win a conference championship in its 133 year history, and possibly their last. Notre Dame has a bye scheduled and then look to travel to Florida State.


#8 Miami 2-0

"The U Is Back!" once again has come up, and they might be right this time. Miami is averaging 50 points in 2 ACC games. QB D'Eriq King came into a really good team and made it that much better. He already has 736 passing yards and 6 TDs this year, plus 157 on the ground with another score. FSU and UAB obviously didn't put up much of a fight but Louisville is supposed to be good and they beat them easily too. When do we find out just how good they are? 2 weeks. 2 weeks and they play Clemson off a bye. If they just keep it close, they're the real deal. If they get destroyed, then they get thrown back to the trash heap of previous "The U is back" posers. Or Clemson is just that good? Either way, it looks to be a good match-up.


#12 North Carolina 1-0

UNC received a ton of early hype this off-season. QB Sam Howell has been a rising star in college football, and potential Heisman candidate...next year. Sam Howell struggled in their opener vs Syracuse. He ended with 295 yards passing and 1 TD, but recorded 2 bad Interceptions. UNC only has 1 game under its belt to judge them on, and on the scoreboard they dominated 31-6. They were saved by 3 TDs in the fourth quarter by Javonte Williams. No RB can keep that up so Sam Howell will have to limit turnovers and keep the offense rolling if they want to stay in the top 3rd of ACC. UNC is scheduled to play BC this weekend.


#24 Pitt 2-0

Pitt always has a tough team and looks to have the best defense in the ACC this year. QB Kenny Pickett may not be known as the best QB, but alongside their stellar defense, he can lead the offense to many wins this season. Pitt has a very difficult path to a championship, though. They host Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, as well as travel to Miami and Clemson. If Pitt makes it through with only 1 or 2 losses, they'll have a real shot of playing for an ACC championship. Pitt looks to host NC State this weekend.


#26 Virginia Tech 1-0

Virginia Tech dominated NC State offensively, defensively, and on special teams despite 23 players being out, including their starting QB Hendon Hooker, best corner Jermaine Waller, and DC Justin Hamilton. Virginia Tech hit it big with transfers to upgrade a team that had some of the highest returning production of any team in the nation. Khalil Herbert, Justus Reed, Raheem Blackshear, Brock Hoffman, and Braxton Burmeister were the difference making transfers that came in ready to make an impact. If VT can continue to put up 314 rushing yards a game, they'll win a lot of games this year. Virginia Tech is scheduled to play Duke this weekend.


Who isn't out yet?


Virginia 1-0

UVA lost a ton in 3 players. The obvious, Byrce Perkins. Also WRs Joe Reed and Hasise Dubois. Brennon Armstrong and Wayne Taulapapa did their best to honor Bryce Perkins getting 2 TDs each. The real reason they stayed alive against Duke wasn't the offense at all though. Their defense got them 7 turnovers, many on their side of the field. The Cavaliers did however lose 3 turnovers on offense and struggle for long periods of the game. UVA has a solid D, but I certainly wouldn't count on it for 7 turnovers a game. UVA needs to show much more on offense this season if they want to play in the championship.


NC State 1-1

Technically they are not out but they need a miracle to stay in it. An outstanding performance against Wake Forest has suddenly been overshadowed by a crushing defeat in Blacksburg. Luckily, it's 2020 and anything is possible this year.


Louisville 0-2

Louisville came into this season ranked. They've lost 2 close ones to Miami and Pitt. They aren't terrible but will need some big wins to overcome a 0-2 start. Malik Cunningham remains the key to Louisville's success; if he doesn't turn the ball over then maybe the Cardinals sit at 2-0 rather than 0-2 in conference play.


Georgia Tech 1-1

Georgia Tech is still under a heavy rebuild. They will have a great team in a few years and will certainly wreak unforeseen havoc this year. That being said, I don't see it possible that they keep it together long enough to contend yet. They will win games, but they will struggle against the top of the conference.


Who has no chance?

Syracuse 1-2

Syracuse looked good in their win over GT. But, 2 losses to UNC and Pitt make it too hard of a challenge to overcome. QB Tommy DeVito continues to prove unreliable for the Orange.

Florida State 0-2

FSU hasn't looked good since Jameis Winston left. With program instability, a first-year coach, and internal team drama, don't expect a miracle here.

Duke 0-3

Duke played admirably in their first outing against ND but has sputtered offensively against BC and UVA. Their playcalling has been oddly conservative in "score now" situations and Chase Brice has had to force plays that weren't there leading to numerous interceptions. Their solid defense is worn out from constantly being on the field.

Wake 0-2

Wake forest got destroyed vs Clemson and then let NC State put up 45 on them. Wake has all the capability to win in the ACC this year but their O-Line has not been sturdy enough to support such a run-heavy offense. With 2 losses this early, it's impossible to be a top 2 team when its all over.

BC 1-0

Boston College shellacked Duke but then struggled to beat Texas State. Do I need to go on?


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